Two-time Olympic champion and now figure skating coach Evgeni Plushenko has revealed that Alina Zagitova had thought about quitting Eteri Tutberidze’s camp and entering his sports academy.
Tensions surrounding two figure skating teams continue to escalate, after several of Tutberidze’s skaters switched to Plushenko, including two bright stars, Alexandra Trusova and Alena Kostornaia.
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Tutberidze accused her colleague of poaching skaters from her camp by offering them “alluring prospects,” unambiguously hinting that he offers more attractive financial terms for cooperation.
In September Tutberidze shared screenshots of an online chat between Zagitova and Plushenko’s wife Yana Rudkovskaya, in which the latter invited the skater to train at their skating rink.
Plushenko confirmed that his wife, herself a famous producer in Russia, had actually messaged Zagitova, but insisted that the reigning world and Olympic champion had wanted to leave Tutberidze’s group.
“Yana really contacted Alina, they have been communicating for a long time. Alina indeed wanted to quit [Tutberidze] and join my team a year ago. No one tried to entice her, it was her decision,” Plushenko said.
“Yana invited Alina to take part in our shows, she didn’t say ‘change your coach’,” he added.
The prominent skater outlined that he’d tried to “reconcile” with Tutberidze’s team and had tried to talk to her at last week’s Cup of Russia, but this attempt was not successful, as, he said, the opposite side “obviously wants the two camps to be in a state of war.”
Alina Zagitova, who has won all possible awards under Tutberidze’s guidance, is not competing this season, deciding instead to concentrate on her TV career. The athlete co-hosts the popular figure skating show ‘Ice Age’ together with famed skater Alexei Yagudin.